U of A kicks off football season with Land Acknowledgment
Gila River Indian News
Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, along with Ak-Chin Indian Community Chairman Robert Miguel, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Martin Harvier, Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Verlon M. Jose, and Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairwoman Carla Johnson, attended the University of Arizona’s first football game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 2.
During the game, a Native American Land Acknowledgment took place, recognizing Tucson as the ancestral homeland of the O’odham and the Yaqui peoples. Before the game, a video was played for the audience acknowledging that the University of Arizona “is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples… the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.”
Then, during halftime, youth councils and tribal royalty from all four tribes took to the center field to perform a song as part of the programming. Also, at this time, the University recognized the gathered tribal leaders as they stood on the field and cheered on the youth.
“It’s a big night for us and it’s very important for us to acknowledge that we’re on the land of our Native nation partners, you’re our neighbors and these have been your lands for time in memorial, it’s long overdue,” said University of Arizona’s President Dr. Robert C. Robbins.
President Robbins said he was very proud to have hosted all the leaders with a strong presence from all four tribal nations. President Robbins also shared that tonight acknowledges the land but also recognizes the Indigenous students and faculty at the University of Arizona.
“Tonight, shows how much care and honor the University [of Arizona] is giving our tribal nations tonight and it will also help to educate the University’s student community about the rich history of the Tucson, being on O’otham Jeved (land),” said Gov. Lewis. “Seeing all our youth tonight is powerful and it’s great to hear the sound of the rattles throughout the stadium and shows that we are still here, we continue to practice our culture, and we’re resilient people.”